Boosting Your Local SEO In 60 Days?
What if it was possible to bag yourself a load of page one rankings in a large city, for a bunch of keywords, in roughly 60 days or less?
…On top of that, be found in all the local towns for similar geo-specific local search terms?
Sounds pretty wicked but far-fetched, doesn’t it?
Well, it’s not!
So, in this post, I’ll give you a full rundown of exactly what we did, how we did it, and show the results to prove it.
UPDATE: At the time of writing this post Google had performed a major update of their core algorithm AKA FRED again. So, as you’d expect some of the keywords mentioned in this post have changed position and fluctuated quite a lot. However, having said that we are also seeing them slowly come back as it rolls out, so we’ll keep you posted over the coming weeks on it as things change.
Before We Dig In
Now, before we begin I’d like to make it clear that our agency site does not have a magical backlink profile, anyone checking can see this clear as day.
The reason I’m telling you this is because most people would assume you need tonnes of great backlinks to do this, and that isn’t true.
Do they make a difference?
Of course they do, and any SEO worth his or her salt knows that. However, I’m a believer that any site with poor backlinks will outrank one without any.
So we have all the usual social profile links, a few blog comments and even a ton of local citations.
We do these for one reason and one reason only!
It’s only natural for any website owner to want to broadcast to the world they have a website.
Also, it’s usually done with the help of citations and social profiles, in fact, sites that don’t have these tend to worry me more than sites that do.
It just doesn’t look natural to me for a website to only have good or great dofollow backlinks.
Also worth noting is our complete lack of blog content.
“Why?” you ask,
Well, this is due to us thinking that we’re not very good at writing, so we tend not to spew blog posts out like a sugar-induced kid throwing up because he’s overeaten at his mates 10th birthday bash.
If we think it’s useful, we will write about it or share something. Otherwise, there is enough SEO noise out there to satisfy us all.
Ask yourself this – do you want us to create the two hundredth blog post you’ve seen on writing page titles or optimising meta descriptions?
I thought not…
So apart from one blog post, all we have is the primary service pages we want to target for our keywords.
It’s also worth noting that this blog post assumes you have already taken care of your house cleaning and ensured everything on-site is as sound as possible when it comes to SEO.
If not, then I suggest you take care of all that now because it will make a difference.
You see on-site or on-page SEO to me, is the most underappreciated and undervalued aspect of SEO. You can see some nice gains just by making those onsite tweaks and changes, with minimal effort on your part.
So, do it now! (You must say this aloud in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice)
What you’ve already got everything optimised? Well proceed to the next part my friend and enjoy the read!
Assessing the Local SEO Landscape and Competition
Our local area looks nothing like this! but for the sake of this post we wanted something nice to look at.
Now our agency is based in Manchester, and for those that don’t know, it’s the third largest city in the UK and therefore has its fair share of digital marketing and SEO agencies.
The competition is pretty fierce, especially in the local pack; this can be put down to two things:
1) They have been around much longer than we have and therefore have built up much better backlink profile which are well known and visible.
2) They happen to have bigger pockets and therefore have dedicated people working on their SEO as well as their clients.
However, we don’t care about that, just how many results and if we fancy a nice challenge after all, what is life without a challenge right?
We punched in some search terms like “local SEO agency Manchester” local SEO services Manchester” which then threw up a whopping 5 million seven hundred and fifty results, not too shabby Google, thank you.
OK, so that’s a lot of results, so on a quick speedy glance, we can see at least the first 6 pages are full of other SEO agencies, AKA our competition.
Now it’s surprisingly competitive for keywords with very low volume searches, but nevertheless I think we can crack it for a least a few search terms regardless and get ourselves some more visibility and SERP real estate.
If we can take a spot, then our competitors don’t, and that’s the idea.
You’re going to be the one who buys up the whole street, not just one house!
The keywords we’re going to target are as follows:
Keywords Searches Per Month
Local SEO Manchester 30
Local SEO Agency Manchester 10
Local SEO Services Manchester 10
Local SEO Company Manchester 10
SEO Training Services Manchester 10
SEO Agency Manchester 260
(Taken from SemRush May 21st 2018)
Now, I’m not going to lie. The total search volume for these keywords isn’t that high. However, the idea here isn’t to rank for high volume keywords, but low hanging fruits and easy wins we can get fast to raise our online visibility.
Now here’s the magic bit….
When we do this, we should also rank for some of those exact keywords in multiple locations again further raising our online presence across the board in the SERPs.
We want to be everywhere someone searches, whether the search volume is 10, 100, or 1000 searches per month we want to be the brand that is seen everywhere for it.
So, if someone searches local SEO agency Manchester, we show up and the same for Local SEO agency Altrincham, Sale, Swinton, Eccles, Leigh, Ashton under Lyne, Oldham and so forth, as many as possible that fall within our 25 mile radius of Manchester.
This is what I call “brand association”, wherein a brand or company is seen for something so often, people automatically think of that company or brand whenever they hear a certain phrase or if they see a product.
Think luxury watches…
And many people will say Rolex.
With this exact idea in mind, we want every local business to associate our brand with anything to do with Local SEO.
Our Local SEO Plan of Attack
Ok, so getting started – the first we did was to make use of and utilise a Google My Business website.
Now, why are we doing this?
Well anyone who knows Google also knows that Google loves themselves and therefore will never devalue one of their platforms. It just doesn’t make business sense.
We are now going to set up in a simple one-click process a local GMB website that gets auto-populated with any content we have published via Google My Business.
So now not only do we have a nice google website with an embedded GMB map, but it’s also given us content too (albeit our own).
We will also add some written content, essentially detailing what the company does and offers. We then hyperlink some of our keywords to our service pages, so our customers click and find out more information.
The second thing we need to do is to create a series of minisatellite sites based around our keywords and topics for further relevancy. Now, these can be anything you like, be it a web 2.0, GMB site, or even another website you may own in a similar niche, it doesn’t matter.
We decided to use a couple of existing web 2.0’s we already had and occasionally published content on. Now anyone who has been in the industry long enough will recognise this as a form of tiered link building, and you’d be right. Now for those that don’t, I’ll explain it a little easier.
We’re doing it for two reasons:
Firstly, we are creating a single cut off point, now this allows us to do two things – push all our link juice through one place at a given time, in theory, magnifying the effect, and in case anything goes wrong later down the line we only have to remove links from one place rather than hundreds etc.
Secondly, we are also helping to create enough relevancy around a given topic that when linked to your other properties Google will see that topical relevancy and thus help you rank some more.
Using Custom Google My Maps for Local SEO
The third step was to create ourselves a custom Google My Map based around the location we are based in and want to target.
We opted for a 25 miles Radius of Manchester City centre, so by using a radius, we will also cover as many other smaller towns and cities within the Greater Manchester area as possible.
If you have never made a custom Google My Map, don’t panic.
There are plenty of resources online to find out how you can make one of these and we’ll also cover it in more detail in a future tutorial.
But these are essentially custom maps with your own drawn on radiuses and map markers that can be optimised to include text, images, links, driving directions etc.
Now when creating the custom My Map, the key is to link this to your GMB map!
Now the reason for this is so Google associates our custom map with their own GMB one, to reinforce local relevancy again further. So wherever our radius on our map overlays, we want Google to associate those areas with us, ultimately ranking us there.
So now you have a nice custom my map, it’s time to create a small piece of content to go along with it. An introduction to your company and services offered is usually the best route.
We want to let people know that we are a local business – this what we do, here is where you can find us. Keep it simple.
Here’s a little trick we did with this to try and create as much local relevancy as possible. We added our social links and then also any citations listings that we had where the citation itself had a map embed of our location (think Yelp, Yell, Foursquare, etc.).
Once done we then went to embed our map content anywhere and everywhere possible that made sense without being spammy as hell!
We opted for a few other external sites we currently owned, along with some older web 2.0’s and our social media channels. We even posted it via the GMB console – this way it’s more likely to be indexed faster and further associates us on Google with our GMB listing and our custom Map, citations its linked to and so forth, instead of doing what people who build PBNs do, which is hide as much as possible from Google.
We are doing the complete opposite.
We want them to know that all of these entities are the same as, you guessed it, us!
So, Google, if you see these citations, that’s us, also listed here, and in this custom map that links to your map, that – hey – links to our social profiles and website.
You get the idea here.
Finally, Our local SEO Results!
We carried out all the above work over roughly a four-week period, starting from around May the 14th 2018 and we finished on the 12th of June, with about 10 hours a week spent on actually doing the work itself.
This allowed us time to create content, post it and allow it time to settle naturally. We then went back and embedded our custom map on these external sites after the content had been live for around a week.
After which we then shared it on our social channels and GMB.
Here we have some screenshots of our local rankings over that period, covering the last 90 days for a clearer picture.
You can see it has massively improved our local rankings for the above search terms, but more surprisingly was the knock-on effect it had on keywords we had never targeted before, keywords we had never built links to other than internal linking on-site.
Terms such as Pay Per Click Management Manchester, Pay Per Click Agency Manchester and also PPC Agency Manchester.
With some jumping over 27 places and some with a CPC of $47.45!
Not bad for targeting other keywords, right?
Here are our rankings covering the last 30 days.
Even after the fluctuations, we found things finally settled further and our ranking remained relatively stable, even after 30 days.
Now the last 7 days…
You can see screenshots of our national rankings over the same period.
Firstly 90 Days
National rankings after 30 days.
Not surprisingly, because of our improvements in rankings for local searches such as “local seo agency” or “SEO agency Manchester” we also saw a positive effect on our rankings nationally.
This saw us reach number 1 nationally in the UK for local SEO agency, and also 3rd for ‘local seo agency uk’, impressive results for mainly focussing on local search.
If you happen to have stayed with me here and read all of this, then well done.
You’ve earned the juicy bit.
It’s all well and good ranking for the keywords we want in the area we want, and most would think job done.
But remember we said we want to target as many places as possible for similar geo-specific search terms?
Well, it worked out.
It worked out rather well indeed, here are some of the screenshots of the results we got….
The Search term now is Local SEO Agency + Town name.
Firstly we have Local SEO agency Manchester.
And also with Altrincham
And also for Hyde too.
And again we managed to rank for local SEO Agency Oldham.
Pretty impressive, huh?
We got similar results for Bury, Rochdale, Haslingden, Rossendale, Darwen, and even as far as Glossop! All of these towns that fall within our 25 mile map radius.
Even better, this had a similar effect with another search term.
We targeted SEO training Services + town name and again very similar results.
Firstly with SEO training Services Manchester.
But also, Altrincham.
Same with Ashton Under Lyne.
And again, with other towns in the immediate area. Such as Hyde, Sale, Swinton, Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Haslingden, Rossendale, Leigh, Eccles etc.
all of which are towns that fall within our 25 mile map radius.
And the list goes on.
We literally have that many screenshots this post would be ridiculously long if we posted them all.
Summing it all up
As you can see, not only have we managed to improve our local search rankings in 60 days but also helped to ramp up our national keywords as well.
On top of this, we also dominate the local area for a couple of search terms that may not get much traffic but soon add up once multiplied by the number of areas and towns, we are now visible in.
However, having said that, since this has already worked once, we could theorise that now we could repeat this process for a select group of keywords each time – further building out our dominance in local for our given search terms.
If you have managed to read all of this and remain here, then I salute you and want to thank you for taking the time to read this.
Hopefully, you’ve picked up a few tricks or even better, its inspired you to think of new ways to see nice quick wins and increased local visibility without having to break your back to see results from your work.
Thanks again for taking the time to read this. Once we have some more tests completed, we’ll publish those too!